A MAN who slashed the throat of a mourner at a wake in St Neots sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A MAN who slashed the throat of a fellow mourner at a wake has been jailed for 10 years.

Brian Bailey, 33, from Dagenham, previously from St Neots, was sentenced at Huntingdon Crown Court on Friday. He will have to serve five years before he is considered for release and then he will be on licence for life.

Bailey was found guilty after a week-long trial at Huntingdon Crown Court in February of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Dennis Fleming with intent, causing grievous bodily harm.

He pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon, a Stanley Knife, and to drink driving. There was no separate sentence for the weapon. He was banned from driving for three years on the drink-driving charge. The offences were on August 26 last year. Mr Bailey had claimed that he acted in self-defence when he slashed Mr Fleming's throat, during a wake for a man known as Gypsy Graham, at The Merry Boys pub in Berkley Street, St Neots. He cut Mr Fleming from his ear to the front of his neck leaving a wound four centimetres deep and 20 centimetres long.

The court heard that a row started when a 17-year-old boy chatted up Mr Bailey's teenage sister. Mr Fleming said he had intervened to calm things down and described hearing a click and seeing a knife in Mr Bailey's hand.

Mr Fleming, 48, from St Neots, was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.

Bailey had admitted possessing an offensive weapon but claimed he wanted only to "warn off" Mr Fleming and had not intended to cause any injuries.

Caroline Allison, defending at the trial, said: "This was one strike, not repeated strikes."

Buy Michael Magee, prosecuting, told the court the knife must have come down with force and it was not a glancing blow.

Bailey was arrested that night. Police officers said witnesses at the scene had been reluctant to help and would not provide immediate statements.

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Sergeant Matt Swash said: "Bailey is a violent man who seriously injured his victim.

"Thankfully the victim and several witnesses were brave enough to come forward and give evidence during the trial.

"By working closely with the community and through a detailed investigation we have been able to ensure that justice was done."